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Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 43 of 61

Laundry Basket Lighting


Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 43 of 61

Laundry Basket Lighting


Lesson Info

Laundry Basket Lighting

I wanted to create an interesting background and I was thinking about this, and I was thinking about cutting up cardboard, and I was oh gosh. And then you know what, I was throwing a bunch of crap into somewhere, transferring it to the garage and I just saw this laundry basket. Wait a second, I got an idea! Right, I could use the laundry basket to create an interesting background for me, and it's very easy to find, everybody has it. So what I'm doing is, let me go over there, I'm shooting at F11 again, right, because I know that at F11 I killed all the ambient light. Now the thing is, how do I calculate enough light to put on this background through a red gel? Well F11 the right exposure is what flash power do we put it on at F11? Half power, right. F16 is full power, F11 is half power. So I make sure that my flash is at half power. And when I put a gel over something, you're gonna lose about one or two stops. But that's okay, because I don't want my background brighter than my subject...

. So if my background is a bit darker than my subject, I'm cool with it. Because I want her to stick out instead of my background. So I just make sure that it's about six feet away from the background. And I put this in here, and I tilt the head. I'm taking a pure guess right now. We can see what it looks like. Okay and now I know that at F11, if a flash is on half power, and it's about six feet away from anything that you wanna fire, it's gonna give you generally the right exposure. I'm putting a gel over it, it's lowering it so it's gonna be a bit dimmer, but I know that that's gonna give that for me. And so I could take a, I could take a test without. So what I usually do is take one test shot. I'm gonna just turn this off right now. And so that flash you see over there? Yeah okay so I gotta make sure that I turn that one over there to one half power. Okay. And so let me do that right now. And then you gotta hit the test. When you have a control, when you control your flashes with your transmitter, I always like to hit the test button because it will recycle it. Sometimes if you turn this and you start shooting, your first couple of shots it's on the old setting. And you go what it's not working. So just to get everything in sync, I like to hit the test button. Okay so that's on half power, I turned that flash off right. And you turned it off? Okay so now I just wanna evaluate the background. So I'll just you know, I'll take a shot and say let me see what my background looks like. And I go oh my gosh, I'm so good, right? And so I don't know if we can see that, that's generally what I want. I'm gonna turn it a little bit more to the left so it goes behind her. I can move that up in post as obviously as you saw the other picture. That's easily adjusted. But I wanna get something that's generally there. I mean if you had a lot of time, then you can adjust that and make it stronger and whatever. I gotta just quickly get this off, but I want to tell you the concept. Okay so now I got that on half power, right. Now when I also have this flash on half power also, it's not quite six feet away, it's pretty close, but what did I say about backlight? Backlight you need more light than light up front. And so I don't care that it's giving me a little bit extra juice than normal because first of all I think this light is, can I change this position a bit? Can you hold this, just stay right there. (laughing) Sorry. So I like the light coming up from above and coming down. So is that pointing right at your head there? Okay, good. Alright so I wanna get that rim light on top of her hair too. So that's why I kind of get it up high, okay. So I'm gonna just keep it at half power knowing that I like a little extra glow on that hair. And so we're just gonna see what's happening right. Even though it's closer than six feet, it's generally right. Now I know I wanna flash here, but I know that the larger the source, the closer the source is to my subject, the softer the light. Typically I do not use hard light on females. But you know, she was so pretty that hey we gotta use her for this. We're not using no guy. Right, and so I wanted to make it as soft as possible. So I have to adjust my flash power. So if you're at half power here, when you bring it in half the distance you have to lower it two stops. Okay so if you're at half power at six feet away, what's two stops at three feet. So at half the distance is right here, right. So if I fire it right here, if that's at half power if I lower it two stops it'd be one quarter it'd be one eighth right here. Okay, but no, I actually shot it at 1/32 power. The reason why is that I didn't want the perfect exposure. I wanted it moody. And so I know that you know, if you lower it a stop and a half with your flash, you usually you can see stuff but it kinda looks natural. And so I know that that gives you kind of a moody feel to it. And so that's why I lowered it down to 1/32. Okay so we're gonna set that, what number is that, what letter is that? B, okay, so I'm setting mine at to B to 1/32 power. Okay and if he gets fairly close now you just adjust by distance if it's not right. But I want him fairly close. And I'm gonna fire the flash longways because I'm gonna shoot it portrait right. And I just want her lit, and if I fire it sideways that spray may get to my background but because I know the inverse square law, what is the inverse square law? If I'm one and a half feet from her, it's gonna be one and a half feet behind her and it's gonna severely drop off. And so that's another reason why I need to get it close. Not only is it soft light, but I can't get this light to my background. It's gonna blow out that red. So that's why I need to understand inverse square law, it's because I can know at, when the flash is this distance, oh it's gonna hit my subject, it's gonna go behind her about one and a half feet and then it's gonna fall off dramatically later. And it's going to have no effect on my background. Okay, so let's try that now. And give it a whirl. Nose towards the light, right. And look back towards me a bit. Okay, is that pointing right at your nose? You adjust him if you need to. Okay good. Alright so here we're gonna do the shot. Hold on a second. I'm just gonna do a full length little bit. One, two, three. Alright and generally, oh wait the other flash didn't go off. Did that go off? Oh we forgot to turn it back on haha. That happens. It looked almost perfect. One, two. Okay there we go. Right, and you can see well yeah it is a tad hot on the back, right. So I could lower it back down to what I think it should be. Like at, you know since it's a little bit closer than six feet, but in general that's all I need. I can take it from there to get the shot that I just, I'm gonna show you on the screen here. Right, that's all I need. So I know I'm using I'm using my post processing knowledge to help me get what I need because I know I don't have to spend a lot of time getting it exactly perfect in camera because I know I'm gonna edit it later and fine-tune exactly what I need. I just need to know is that giving me enough contrast. Is that giving me enough density or whatever, to get what I want to finish it off with right. And you don't realize the technology today, how much leeway you have. I mean I just shoot in JPEG, and I get fine. If you shoot in raw, you've got so much leeway with your images, it's ridiculous now. What you can do with it. As long as you have the good lighting with the shadows and the darkness, now you can make something of it into post.

Class Description

Want to be able to go into any situation with your camera and have the confidence to know you’ll get the shot? Award-Winning photographer Scott Robert Lim goes in-depth on the four foundational elements you must conquer if you want to develop your creativity and style.

Scott will give you the guidelines you need to master:

  • Lighting
  • Posing
  • Composition
  • Post-Processing

Once you master these fundamentals of portraits, you free up your mind to get creative and ultimately get the shot.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. 5 Shots That WOW
  3. Four Fundamentals of Photography
  4. Create a Visual Impact with Composition
  5. Importance of Foreground and Background
  6. Create Depth in Landscape Images
  7. Photos Don't Always Follow the Rules
  8. Composition Practice Exercise
  9. Composition Critique of Student Images
  10. Keys to Posing
  11. Shoot: Classic Elegance Female Pose
  12. Shoot: Modern Female Pose
  13. Shoot: Rollover Female Pose
  14. Female Hands & Arms Poses Overview
  15. Shoot: Hands and Arms Poses for Female
  16. Seven Posing Guidelines
  17. Headshots Poses with Male Model
  18. Shoot: Headshot for Male Model
  19. Shoot: Sitting Poses for Male Model
  20. Shoot: Leaning Poses for Male Model
  21. Shoot: Standing Poses for Male Model
  22. Keys to Couples Posing
  23. Shoot: Couples Posing
  24. Couples Transitional Posing Overview
  25. Shoot: Transitional Posing
  26. Keys to Group Posing
  27. Accordion Technique with Groups
  28. Shoot: Accordion Technique
  29. Shoot: Best Buds Pose
  30. Shoot: Talk with Your Hands Pose
  31. Shoot: Lock Arms and Hold Hands Pose
  32. Run at the Camera and Dance in Your Seat Poses
  33. Shoot: Pod Method Pose
  34. Posing Critique of Student Images
  35. Introduction to Lighting
  36. Soft vs Hard Light
  37. Difficult Lighting Situations
  38. Bright Light Techniques
  39. Overcast Light Techniques
  40. Low Light Techniques
  41. Lighting Techniques Q&A
  42. Drama Queen Lighting
  43. Laundry Basket Lighting
  44. Make it Rain Lighting
  45. Smart Phone Painting with Light
  46. Mini LED Bokeh Lighting
  47. Choose the Right Lighting System
  48. Hybrid Flash System
  49. Innovative Accessories
  50. Gear Overview
  51. Theatrical Post-Processing
  52. Ten Keys to Post-Processing
  53. Essential Skills to Post-Processing
  54. Headshot Post-Processing
  55. Bright Light Post-Processing
  56. Flat Light Post-Processing
  57. Low Light Post-Processing
  58. Introduction to Fine Art Post-Processing
  59. Light & Airy Fine Art Post-Processing
  60. Dark & Moody Fine Art Post-Processing
  61. Post-Processing Critique of Student Images


Vitor Rademaker

This course is amazing! Scott is extremely straightforward. He goes directly to practical problems, tips and etc. He explains every thing very clearly, and he is also very funny and charismatic, making you laugh as you learn. He shows that you don't need a lot of expensive gear to make very nice pictures. So I have saved some money as well, cause I was about to buy some gear that I wouldn't need right now. It is for sure one of the best photography courses I have ever attended to! I highly recommend! Thanks a lot Scott! You are the best!


I have purchased a number of classes, this being one of them. The quality of the information was good and the level at which Scott spoke was appropriate for me. Having a course sylibus would add greatly to the value, which usually is not part of the programs I've purchased including this one, unless I've missed it. I believe the speaker should be required to provide one. After watching the videos, much of material can be recaptured by seeing it in writing. I would like to hear back from Creativelive their thoughts. In sum, good topic, good speaker, good technical audio and video quality by Creativelive


Another fantastic class with Scott Robert Lim! The combination of his knowledge, willingness to share, passion & entertaining personality makes him a top choice for photography education. Learning not only the "what", but the "why" & "how" can transform one's entire approach towards MAKING pictures. A constant inspiration to get better & better through practice.